WEST DES MOINES — C.J. Fiedorowicz wanted more time.
The Iowa tight end flirted with the notion of foregoing his senior season for an early look by NFL teams, but opted instead for another season of seasoning at the collegiate level.
“It seemed like the right thing to do,” Fiedorowicz said, referring to his both his return and the sizeable new tattoo on his right arm. “I feel like I still have some work to do.”
That work continues this spring as the Hawkeyes work toward Saturday’s 2 p.m. public practice at Kinnick Stadium, a chance for Fiedorowicz to build on the strong finish he had his junior season.
After averaging 3.1 catches for 27.8 yards in Iowa’s first 10 games last season, he averaged 7 receptions for 77.5 yards in the final two games of the Hawkeyes’ 4-8 season.
“I think it was just a case of James (Vandenberg) started having confidence,” Fiedorowicz said. “The play calling didn’t really seem to change that much in those games. The ball just seemed to come my way a little more.”
Don’t expect that to change during the upcoming season.
Tight end is one of the deepest positions on the Iowa roster and both a peek at the depth chart and from what Fiedorowicz has seen play out in spring drills so far indicates that the Hawkeyes plan to make good use of the position.
Iowa’s offensive depth chart for the spring includes the listing of a Y-back, a second tight end spot that is filled with players somewhat lighter and a little more receiver-like than the 6-foot-7, 265-pound Fiedorowicz.
Jake Duzey and Henry Krieger Coble, both 6-4, 245-pound sophomores, saw time at that spot during the Hawkeyes’ recent public workout in West Des Moines, while Ray Hamilton, a 6-5, 248-pound junior, backed up Fiedorowicz.
Fiedorowicz describes the Y-backs this way: “It’s basically like a fullback who will go out for a pass. I think you might see using a lot of two tight end sets this year. The more, the better.”
The tight end has been a significant component in the Iowa offense throughout the tenure of coach Kirk Ferentz.
“There’s no question people in the National Football League, smart people, have always valued that position, but I guess that you are starting to see tight ends become a little more involved in the passing game,” Ferentz said.
Fiedorowicz believes that approach can only help an Iowa offense which struggled throughout the 2012 season.
“As a group, we’re all having fun. We’re all close, but we’re all pushing each other. We have the depth and the skill there to make good things happen,” Fiedorowicz said. “We just need to use them.”
In the public workout, Fiedorowicz caught passes from all three quarterbacks vying to replace Vandenberg behind center and he said has grown comfortable with each.
“Those guys are all doing a good job, all throw a good ball,” Fiedorowicz said. “I wouldn’t want to even guess who might end up being the guy. That’s for the coaches to figure out.”
After catching 45 passes for 433 yards last season, Fiedorowicz is ready to do his part.
“The way I see it, tight ends are capable of making as many plays as receivers. That’s what we’re hoping, anyway,” he said. “That’s what we’re working toward every day.”
Contact Stave Batterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.